Sometimes, the overall theme of a magazine just feels completely out of our hands. Bizarre circumstances occasionally conspire to tell us what exactly it is we’re going to run in a given issue, whether that’s due to a shortage of bikes, a squeezing of deadlines or, heck, just some random suit in Peoria that tells us our usual winter issue will in fact go on sale in September. Which is why—dear, patient readers—the periodical you’re holding in your hands is jam-packed with Guides. We got your Holiday Gift Guide (or Christmas Gift Guide, since I’m feeling politically incorrect these days), and we’re offering up our huge annual Buyer’s Guide as well. To quote a wise man I once knew, we got Guides up the yin-yang. Why the Holiday Gift Guide in this issue? Well, it just didn’t make sense to have it in our December issue, which for some wacko reason hit newsstands in September this year. To me, this was like airing the Grinch Who Stole Christmas (awesome entertainment if you want my opinion) the week before Halloween. Who does that? But what do I know. I just go by the most widely-accepted calendar on the planet—also known as the Gregorian calendar—and I also don’t make the schedules, so there you go.
So while that seasonally-appropriate Gift Guide (don’t worry, we got your cold weather riding gear covered) is in here, it’s our big annual Buyer’s Guide that’s the real highlight. It’s a labor of love jam-packed with info on every single stinking cruiser you can think of, and some you probably couldn’t (like the Diavel, the Gold Wing and others. Stay with me). The Guide is huge this year, all 99 models unceremoniously shoved into the flimsy pages you’re cradling, so don’t be afraid to dive right in. Big props to wordsmith extraordinaire Charles Everitt for his help on this titanic project too; couldn’t have done it without you man. We’ve also got more details on the bikes at our website (motorcyclecruiser.com), and we’ll be posting updates and adding more photos as they come in. Feel free to drop us a line if there’s something we missed (you can count on it) or if you have any info you’d like to share with the rest of the class (as my wife likes to say. Yup, she’s a teacher).
For instance, some bikes just haven’t been announced yet. At press time, we got word from the Intermot show that Suzuki had unveiled an Intruder C1500T. If it indeed does make it Stateside , this blacked-out cruiser will add a true heavyweight bagger to Suzuki’s range. It looks like the promo photos were shot in the States, so there’s no reason to believe the bike won’t come here after all.
Moto Guzzi, however, has different ideas. It’s impossible to figure out whether the firm’s new California 1400 has been released or not. We first saw it in January 2011, with legitimate press photos at a dealer meeting. Then, some spy shots surfaced over the months, but the Guzzi marketing folks say the launch has been pushed back to early 2013. Through it all there’s been a lack of detailed information, but we included the model in the Buyer’s Guide anyway; it’s still a big deal from a market-segment perspective.
Other odd moves include Harley inexplicably dropping the XR1200 from the 2013 lineup. Then again, maybe it’s not bizarre after all. Read Aaron Frank’s excellent take on the whole situation at his blog on motorcyclistonline.com: In it, he explains that ”...everyone who wanted an XR1200 bought one that first year; sales have trickled off to almost nothing since then.” We can only hope the same doesn’t happen with the V-Rod, which as some tell us, has never really been a smash here in the States.
And Suzuki is showing signs of life, meaning that they actually have been promoting their 2013 lineup, which returns the M90 and C50. Star’s also got the V Star Deluxe, a big entry for the middleweight bagger segment, which also looks like a smart move.
On a final note, some of you might be interested to hear that Zim and I finally came through on our long-suffering East Coast Cruiser trip this past summer (though it wasn’t without some bumps in the road). We’re planning on making it an annual tradition, and we’re open to suggestions.
So we’ll see you out on the road, west coast or east.